Is Your Culture Toxic? Is It Costing You?

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“In all 15 countries and across all dimensions assessed, toxic workplace behavior had the biggest impact predicting ‘burnout symptoms’ and ‘intent to leave’ by a large margin. 

McKinsey Health Institute May 27, 2022 Article: Addressing Employee Burnout: Are You Solving the Right Problem? 

In the article referenced above, McKinsey Health Institute details the results of decades of research and a recent global survey. In it, they outline connections between toxic workplace conditions and behaviors and their impacts on turnover (the great resignation), burnout, sick leave, and stress (mental health), and disengagement, mediocrity, and absenteeism (quiet quitting). What is clear in their question, “Are you solving the right problem?” is an assertion they make multiple times, that interventions targeting individuals, that remediate symptoms, are far less likely to bring about sustainable positive changes than systemic solutions at the organizational level, focused on resolving causes.

“Employees who report experiencing high levels of toxic behavior at work are eight times more likely to experience burnout. In turn, respondents experiencing burnout were six times more likely to report they intend to leave their employers in the next three to six months (consistent with recent data pointing to toxic culture as the single largest predictor of resignation and ten times more predictive than compensation alone). The opportunity for employers is clear.” 

McKinsey Health Institute May 27, 2022 Article: Addressing Employee Burnout: Are You Solving the Right Problem? 

In every kind of setting, I have always asserted that people are your most valuable asset. This includes in homes, schools, churches, and community organizations. In corporate, non-profit, and government settings, not only is this evident, there are now statistics collected and cited by many research groups that show not only the negative impacts on people, but those on profit and competitive advantage, when people are not adequately supported and developed. This begs the question for all leaders: what conditions and conversations are needed to ensure the wellbeing of people so they expand into their greatest potential, show up with courage to meet complexity and change, and remain motivated to contribute the fullness of their talents?  

For decades, this question and systemic change have been central to all I do. That’s because I have always been moved to action when witnessing unnecessary (resolvable) suffering, and recognizing untapped potential in people.  This is only now beginning to be consciously measured, acknowledged, and addressed as a global trend, often wrapped in wellness and mental health initiatives. Despite this, there are those who do not readily self-identify as being mentally or otherwise unwell. Yet, a closer look at even the strongest shows that they too are not exempt from the negative effects of a toxic culture, and that impacts on them also negatively and measurably affect the organizations and homes in which they work and live.

In the books, The Body Keeps the Score and So, What Happened to You? It is more apparent than ever that people are likely to suffer from unresolved challenges and developmental trauma from common everyday practices they encounter. Upon getting this information, I recognize this is what I have worked most of my life to mitigate. I implore you to consider the unconscious ways you may be inadvertently neglectful and unhelpful to people in your organization and in your personal life. Now is the time to consider what constitutes health and wellness (mind, body, emotions, and spirit) so we not only survive, but thrive!

Trauma, stress, burnout, disengagement, mediocre performance, or simply an imbalance in team effort, are all symptoms of a systemic root cause. LifeWork Systems offers a novel, human systems approach that dismantles root causes and instead creates healthy belonging and significance for all, with the help of all. We prioritize trust, collaboration, purpose and values-based behaving. Everyone at all levels in the organization learns how to communicate effectively, resolve all kinds of negative behavior, and adopt what is needed to nurture emotional and social intelligence, psychological safety, and caring behaviors with one another.

All aspects of our support systems are purpose-based and outcomes-focused with an emphasis on leadership development of every person. This includes regular training, employee-led group reviews, practice sessions, peer and reverse mentoring, coaching, and systems integration. Culture concepts and tools become the new norm and become visibly operational in the environment with our multifaceted system. It is only then that each person becomes confident and skilled in managing their own relationships, productivity, engagement and progress plans.

Everyone becomes aligned with their purpose, values, visions, goals, procedures and roles. This alignment is inspiring and intrinsically motivating. Stable employees stay engaged, and naturally participate in innovation, creativity, leader/follower agility, and enjoy and cause psychological safety as a team. They resolve challenges with one another with compassion and care, all while strengthening relationships.

Our company mission is to create a world in which all people love their lives. Our name changed in 2008 to include the word Systems because without a systemic approach, leaders cannot move the needle on today’s much-needed changes. If you are ready to address root causes underlying a toxic culture and resolve each so your people love their lives (and work), reach out to us today! We are ready, able, and willing to support you with practical, proven and sustainable solutions!

This article is published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, February 2023.

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Why People Hire LifeWork Systems

Business owners and executives, community leaders, parents, educators and individuals hire LifeWork Systems because they know that effective conditions and conversations make all the difference in building trusting relationships, achieving dreams, and creating solutions and innovations for our evolving world. When people are happy and responsible, emotionally and socially intelligent, confident, and appropriately seen, heard, and supported, they always exceed expectations. We help instill into every person common concepts, terms, tools, and processes that result in healthy, happy, caring and contributing individuals, teams and organizations. Our mission is to create a world in which all people love their lives!

We appreciate you being here on our website and encourage you to reach out to us directly at or  314.239.4727. May something we offered in this article and website help you love YOUR life ~ because YOU matter!

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